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Wine Country, Santa Ynez Valley

Santa Ynez Valley , California's insider take:

Sideways put Santa Barbara's pinot noir in the spotlight, but let's not forget the award-winning chardonnays and great cabernet. Wine country is only 30 miles northwest of Santa Barbara, with 80-plus wineries to choose from—unless you have a willing designated driver, take a tour. Cloud Climbers' Back-Country Wine Tour has a terrific young staff and six-passenger open Jeep Wranglers that make vineyard-hopping fun and easy (805-646-3200; For the vine huggers out there, Sustainable Vine Wine Tours offers guided tours of organic and biodynamic wineries in a soybean-powered van (805-698-3911; Then there's Wine EdVentures, an educational safari of the Santa Ynez Valley in a plush van (805-965-9463; All pick you up in Santa Barbara and offer private tastings of six to eight vinos at a minimum of four different wineries each day, plus a gourmet picnic lunch. Don't have an entire day to devote to wine? You can always explore Santa Barbara's Urban Wine Trail on foot. The self-guided tour leads you through eight wineries and tasting rooms conveniently located downtown. Key stops include Cellar 205 Winery & Marketplace, Santa Barbara Winery, Jaffurs Wine Cellars, and East Beach Wine Company. There's even a tasting room on Stearns Wharf. Most wineries offer wine purchase drop-offs at local hotels as well as maps to guide you through your grape adventure.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.